All Points East Festival (APE) returned to Victoria Park for a second year…
Replacing the breadth of events that previously took place in the vast East End park, APE delivered six days of music across two weekends from May 24 to June 2, with free community-focused events during the week.
In its inaugural year, APE was quick to squash the negativity surrounding the displacement of longstanding Victoria Park favourites like Field Day or Lovebox. Delivering a slick and well curated operation, every aspect of the festival – namely the sound, production, layout and bar operation – was well executed. For round two, with expectations set high, this year’s offering fell flat; most pressing were the persistent sound issues on the main East Stage. Though the execution was disappointing, the lineup remained impressive, with a vast array of artists offering something for every palette, from underground electronic, to rock, metal, pop and grime.
The first weekend kicked off with legendary duo The Chemical Brothers. With a career spanning 30 years, The Chemical Brothers are fresh off the back of the release of their ninth album, No Geography. The crowd was an older one, peppered with ravers mature enough to remember classics like ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl’ and ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’. A deluge of rain shortly before their set failed to dampen spirits, though I was relieved when the skies cleared as they took the stage. Having seen The Chemical Brothers more times than I can tally on both hands, and knowing what to expect, the poor sound during their set was particularly noticeable. The show didn’t have the oomph it deserved, and it was clear this was down to sound restrictions that, in comparison, hadn’t been an issue in 2018. Despite sound issues, The Chemical Brothers put on another mind-blowing show that featured piercing lasers, 3D visuals, and robots the size of dinosaurs.
Over on the Rayban Stage, a towering X-shaped structure covered in LED panels, selector of the moment Peggy Gou was on curation duties. The energy was high, the fiery atmosphere ramped up by amazing dancers who strutted the stage to a soundtrack of house and disco.
The JägerHaus was a pleasant surprise. An intimate wooden club-cum-shack, in the middle of the site, JägerHaus played host to a roster of emerging talent whilst offering up a weird mix of Jäger-based cocktails I’m not sure I’ll be drinking again in a hurry. Here the sound was booming, and LA based trio Health were a highlight. Weaving dark and moody electronica with a tough rock edge, Health are genre-bending experimentalists.
Festivals are about a full experience, and the discovery of new music is high on my list. APE delivered in that regard – the festival offers the acts you love, and encourages you to seek out new sounds too. Sound issues aside, I think APE remains a welcome change for Victoria Park and I look forward to seeing what they have lined up for 2020.
Lead – Louise Morris
Rayban Stage – Tom Hancock